Scotland…home to more than just Edinburgh

A few years ago, my fiance and I decided to go away for a few days. We stayed in the country because we were poor students and couldn’t take too much time off from uni and work (yeah we did both, hardcore I know).

View from outside Stirling Castle

We decided to go to Stirling in Scotland, instead of Edinburgh which can be overpriced with regards to attractions and eating out (it is the capital after all). Stirling is a beautiful city located in central Scotland and it was, and still is seen as an important historical city with two wars lending their names to the place such as the 1314  Battle of Bannockburn and the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Statue of King Robert the Bruce

Stirling is home to a few interesting attractions which can be conveniently reached via the city tour bus. Located just 5 minutes from our hotel was Stirling Castle, an impressive building which sits on top of the aptly named Castle Hill. The best time to go is as early as possible because the crowds soon gather.

Stirling Castle

Stained glass in Stirling Castle

Some of the other main attractions are the Old Town Jail, Argyll’s Lodgings and the Wallace Monument with its 246 step climb to reach the top. The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum is also a great place to visit.

The Stirling Smith is the home of a significant collection of rare and unique artefacts, spanning centuries of Scottish, British and World history.  The collection is managed by the Smith’s three full-time curatorial staff, and contains many remarkable objects, including a great many items of interest from the worlds of social history, ethnography, women’s history, natural history, and fine art.

Wallace Monument

Stirling itself feels like a town with its quaint souvenir shops and pubs, but its easy to forget that it is a city home to over 33,500 people (and thats just Stirling itself).  The hotel we stayed in was the Stirling Highland hotel (at the time it was owned by Paramount but is now owned by travel and tourism group Barcelo). The hotel iself was beautiful and the rooms were in keeping with the historical nature of the main building which used to be a High School (which my fiance’s Grandfather used to attend). The rooms were decorated to a decent standard and as well as a pool the hotel also housed a jacuzzi and sauna room. As I said this was a couple of years ago, so things might have changed since then.

Stirling Castle at night (taken with a phone camera, can you tell...)

I would recommend to anyone to visit Stirling. Although I originally wanted to go to EdinburghI think Stirling was a prefect place to just relax and avoid the masses. Stirling is also great for people with young children, as a lot of the attractions have activities for the children to do in order to learn more about what they are looking at.

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